Taleban Target Statues
International Herald Tribune
Thursday, March 1, 2001

Regarding the report "Taleban to Destroy Buddhas" (Feb.27):

I was distressed to learn that the Taleban rulers of Afghanistan had ordered the destruction of all statues, including the unique giant fifth century Buddhas located in Bamiyan.

Like the Pharaonic monuments of Egypt, the Babylonian treasures of Iraq, the pre-Islamic masterpieces of Persepolis in Iran, the Greco-Roman temples and statues of the Northern and Eastern Mediterranean as well as the numerous Christian churches and monasteries, all of which lie in Muslim countries, the Bamiyan Buddhas are part of the artistic and cultural heritage of Afghanistan and of humanity as a whole. They must be preserved.

Long before the Taleban seized power in Kabul, these statues stood at the crossroads of many faiths and civilizations nurtured by the Silk Road.

How would Pakistan react if some cleric ordered the destruction of all the Indus Valley Gandhara Buddhas? The Taleban owes much to Pakistan. Pakistan should speak up together with other governments and international organizations like Unesco to condemn and prevent such acts of vandalism.

Collonge-Bellerive, Switzerland.